The prospect of free climbing the Eiger is a pretty scary one but it didn’t worry adventurer Dean Potter – he had a (very small) parachute on his back.
The much-revered daredevil managed to scale the famous Swiss mountain using little more than a spot of talc, before leaping off the summit, as these breathtaking images show.
The 38-year-old American was testing out his ‘freeBasing’ technique – a lunatic combination of free climbing and Base jumping.
Mr Potter spent months in Lauterbrunnen, near the Eiger, training on limestone cliffs, waiting for the perfect weather conditions to try his ascent. He had mapped out a path along the Deep Blue Sea route up the 3,960m (13,000ft) Eiger – so called because of the distinctive blue limestone colour of the rock.
‘It is also an incredibly difficult climb. But with the parachute I felt confident,’ said Dean, ‘I designed one that weighs only 5lb and which I carry in a small pack on my back. A normal parachute weighs up to 14lb, which is too heavy to carry when climbing up a mountain. It enables me to climb to previously unthinkable heights because I know I have the safety of the parachute if I slip or cannot continue’.
We should also remember the work of his friend and climbing colleague Beat Kammerlander, who had the extra hassle of working out how to take these stunning shots.PHOTOGRAPHY BY BEAT KAMMERLANDER / BARCROFT USA